The second year of the national cyber security competition CyberGame recorded a total of 2,334 registered participants on both the Slovak and English platforms. The professional guarantor of the competition is the National Security Authority (NBÚ).
There were 1,788 registered players on the Slovak platform, of which 832 were active players, which means a significant increase in both categories. Students, public administration and private sector employees, several dozen teachers played, and the youngest player was thirteen years old. The average age of the trio of CyberGame winners was 25, with all three scoring full points.
“In the second year we created six player branches, harder tasks and still saw great player performances. The players had to study more, they improved, so to speak, in a live broadcast, and new talents were discovered,” says Rastislav Janota, director of the National Cyber Security Center SK-CERT. What gives hope to cyber security is more than seven hundred registered under 25 years.
Student Martin not only won the student category, but also became the absolute winner of CyberGame 2023: “The motivation was in training, in improving and discovering new areas, in what I like, what I do and what I study,” he says. Despite the “gamer” name, CyberGame is primarily a challenging cybersecurity competition, so participants play it in their spare time.
The winners of both the competition and the individual categories speak of an irresistible combination of detective work and knowledge demands. Programmer Martin Jantošovič says that he likes logic puzzles. His result nominates him, along with two other players, for a trip to a cyber security development center in Israel.
Award-winning public administration player Rastislav Kavecký says that his motivation to join was a great opportunity to learn and try something new in cyber security, and “it was also great fun.” Juraj Bôrik was so dissatisfied with last year’s 57th place that the result of his preparation this year was a win in the malware analysis branch.
The best player in the teacher category gain points for eighth place overall. He joined CyberGame in order to show himself and the students that the phrase “those who don’t know, teach it” doesn’t apply. Peter Švec teaches at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Informatics of the UKF in Nitra and says that he gained a lot of new knowledge and learned to see some things differently. “Thus, I can pass on this broader perspective to the students. The tasks in the game were processed at a high professional level, for which the creators deserve great praise.”
Ten CyberGame players under the age of 25 will represent Slovakia as Team Slovakia in the prestigious European Cyber Security Challenge 2023 competition in autumn in Norway.
This year’s CyberGame already incorporated a current phenomenon – the use of generative language models based on artificial intelligence in cyber security. When creating tasks and tests, the SK-CERT team worked with the ChatGPT model so that its use did not give players an advantage during the competition.
Our world is changing with digitization and, along with opportunities, it brings new threats. Cybersecurity will always be a challenging profession, but we will only protect this new world of ours through shared responsibility. That’s why the successful CyberGame teacher Peter Švec has a message for all of us: “Seeing or knowing the threats in specific situations would help the general public to better understand cyber security. People often don’t know how big a digital footprint they leave behind.’
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